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April 21, 2021

Nine leaders of Central and Eastern European states adopt Bucharest Summit Declaration: Commitment to strengthen eastern flank of NATO and for defence budget

The leaders present at the high-level meeting of Central and Eastern European states that took place on Wednesday in Bucharest have adopted a declaration emphasizing the need to strengthen the eastern flank of NATO and the committment to allot 2 percent of the GDP for defence.

The joint declaration regarding “Allied Solidarity and Shared Responsibility” was adopted by the Presidents of Romania, Klaus Iohannis, Poland, Andrzej Duda, Bulgaria, Rosen Plevneliev, Estonia, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, Latvia, Raimonds Vejonis, Lithuania, Dalia Grybauskaite, Slovakia, Andrej Kiska, Hungary, Ader Janor, and the Czech Chamber of Deputies Speaker, Jan Hamacek.

The leaders present in the meeting have agreed to continue acting consistently in the spirit of NATO unity and solidarity, as well as for strengthening the trans-Atlantic relation, all deemed vital for the Alliance, in order to prepare to face threats and challenges, wherever they come from.

“In accordance with the decision of the summit in Wales and in the perspective of the summit in Warsaw, we will act together with other allies to strengthen the eastern flank of NATO. The complete implementation of the action plan to increase operational capacity and long-term strategic adaptation of the Alliance, in the political, military and institutional dimensions, will be of crucial importance in this regard. As such, the summit in Warsaw constitutes the favorable moment to make decisions regarding new allied commitments for assurance and adapting to NATO procedures, structures, forces and defence infrastructure. Such measures, which aim to strengthen defence and our discouragement capability, will adapt the Alliance to the current, fundamentally-changed, security environment”, the document shows.

The nine states have convened to actively contribute to shaping the strategic allied answer for long-term threats and security risks that they are facing in the east.

“We will unite our efforts to secure, where it is necessary, a robust, credible, and sustainable Allied military presence in our region”, the joint declaration says.

Furthermore, the document also contains a commitment to allot 2 percent of the GDP to Defence and to continue the open door policy of NATO.

The nine European leaders also agreed to promote an intensified cooperation with NATO partners, especially with those in the vicinity.

“Granting assistance in the construction of resistance against potential threats and the ability to contribute to NATO activities constitutes, for us, a priority. We support an integrated and truly strategic approach in regards to these partners,” the declaration shows.

Additionally, the necessity that Russia revert to observing international law is stipulated.

“Remaining profoundly preoccupied by the aggressive posture of Russia, we will remain firm on the necessity that Russia revert to observing international law and international obligations, its responsibilities and commitments, as a prerequisite for a NATO-Russia relationship based on trust and safety,” the Joint Declaration says.

The nine states show that they will maintain and intensify their involvement in elaborating a joint response towards emerging risks, with emphasis being placed on hybrid wars, cyber defence, energy security and strategic communication.

“Given the complexity of current threats and challenges, we will support the furthering of NATO – EU cooperation,” the document also mentions.

The signatories ground this declaration, among other reasons, in the context of the necessity for a strong North Atlantic Alliance, built on solidarity, capable to respond efficiently to long-term security threats and challenges it faces in the eastern and southern vicinity and beyond this zone, of the volatility of the global security situation and the unpredictable character of threats and challenges that the entire trans-Atlantic community faces, reminding that the aggressive actions of Russia in Ukraine, including the illegal and illegitimate annexation of Crimea, the support granted to separatists in Ukraine, as well as the military activities of Russia in the vicinity undermine the European security architecture.

The meeting in Bucharest also saw the participation of NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow.

Iohannis: Decision to resume dialogue with Russian Federation – based on common understanding of observing international law

President Klaus Iohannis stated on Wednesday that the summit meeting of the Central and Eastern European countries has adopted a joint declaration that stipulates five courses of action including the fact that a decision to resume dialogue with the Russian Federation will be based on the common understanding to observe international law.

“I am very pleased with today’s discussions and I believe that our objective has been met. In this respect we have also adopted a joint declaration highlighting the concerns, commitments and solutions outlined during the reunion. By adopting this document we are sending a strong message of unity and acknowledgment of the need for coherence in our external actions. It is, at the same time, about our contribution to the preparation of the 2016 Warsaw NATO Summit and we are open towards other allied states that want to join our initiative,” Iohannis said at the Cotroceni Palace.

He stated that the document includes five courses of action of priority – strengthening solidarity and indivisibility of Allied security, including through consolidating the trans-Atlantic connection and supporting an increased US presence in Europe from a military, political and economic point of view, strengthening NATO and continuing the adaptation process to answer to long-term risks from the Eastern and Southern neighbourhoods, showing that in this case a special role will be played by the intensification of the relation with partners in the strategic neighbourhood, strengthening security in the space comprised between the Black Sea to the Baltic Sea, the need to deepen the strategic partnership between NATO and the EU, the engagement that a decision to resume dialogue with the Russian Federation will be based on the common understanding of observing international law.

The head of state showed that the purpose of the summit in Bucharest was to “express with a single voice the vision of participating countries regarding the security challenges NATO is facing from the East, as well as from the South.”

“Although we are naturally more sensitive towards the security threats coming from the East, we all wanted to underline the solidarity with the allies whose primary concern is represented by the challenges at the Southern border. We are all facing the same risks and threats. In order to be efficient our answers cannot be other than coordinated. (…) This meeting represents our share of the contribution to the security of the Alliance as a whole. When we speak as one we are of help to everyone,” Iohannis added.

Andrzej Duda: Central and Eastern Europe states have consolidated and proved their unity at this summit

In his turn, Polish President Andrzej Duda, who co-chaired the reunion alongside Romanian president Klaus Iohannis showed that at the summit Central and Eastern Europe states have consolidated and proved their unity and have brought a significant contribution to the future decisions to be taken at the NATO Warsaw Summit.

“We expect good results at the upcoming NATO Summit in Warsaw. This will be a summit where decisions will be made and where NATO as a whole will prove its unity, determination, as well as, something I have said numerous times, the fact that NATO is adapting to the current threats coming from the East as well as from the South. We are talking about several joint actions and a consolidated military infrastructure, joint military exercise to perfect and consolidate cooperation among NATO forces to ensure an efficient, fast and clear reaction in the context or emerging threats. Alongside the political and military dimension, it is very important for our societies as well, because it conveys a feeling of security that is so necessary for the economic development and good cooperation among us in the future,” Andrzej Duda said.

The Polish President underscored that the declaration adopted in Bucharest is open, so that other NATO states can join.

“There is no doubt that NATO must adapt to the new threats and challenges. History teaches us that the situation is changing and that the Alliance must be ready to react efficiently to current events and developments to create at the same time an environment of security and guarantees for peace. Today we have taken the first step towards implementing these measures,” the Polish President concluded.

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